Sunday, October 6, 2013

Rule of law and its phony guardians

That's not uncommon in Pakistan; rather it's sort of usual!

See this report - how the guardians of the rule of law turn into phony guardians of the rule of law in Pakistan. One may follow up with this news item and see nothing happens at the end, though the Chief Minister of Punjab has taken notice of it.

FAISALABAD: Scores of traffic wardens staged a protest demonstration here on Friday shortly after a traffic warden was beaten up allegedly by an MPA’s guards.

The warden was taken to a hospital, from where he was released a few hours later.

The protesting wardens surrounded the office of the regional police officer and shouted slogans against the MPA. They demanded that action be taken against the MPA and his guards.

The wardens said that a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MPA was passing through the road, when his driver violated a red signal.

They said traffic warden Farooq Mazhar followed him and stopped his driver. They said the warden asked the MPA to wait before he could check the driver’s driving licence and vehicle registration documents.

They said on hearing this, the MPA flared up and started to beat the warden along with his guards. They said the men attacked Mazhar with slaps, punches and kicks. Some passers-by rescued the warden. 

They said the MPA and his guards left.

Police spokesman Aamir Waheed said that RPO Mian Javaid Islam had visited the scene and told the protesting wardens to end their demonstration. He had also called both sides to his office, but Mazhar had refused to settle the matter.

The spokesman said that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had taken notice of the incident and ordered the RPO to submit a report on Saturday (today).

[The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2013]

Another "Usual" of the Misrule:

ISLAMABAD: A senior PML-N leader has been accused of hurling death threats at a senior female education department officer for refusing to obey illegal orders for appointing MPA-backed candidates in a South Punjab district. 

In an unprecedented move, the senior lady officer of Punjab Education Department is all set to spill the beans in a court on Monday and will explain as to how the Punjab government and the legislators of ruling PML-N make appointments and harass even female officers who refuse succumb to their might and pressure. 

According to Punjab government officials, thousands of posts of lecturers in colleges of Punjab are vacant and it is the policy of the government to hire and continue with ad hoc based Masters degree holder lecturers on Rs15,000 per month salary to avoid big budget expenses and also to please maximum number of voters without following merit. 

During recruitment of ad hoc lecturers, senior PML-N leader and MPA from Layyah Maher Ijaz Ahmad Achlana called a principal of a college in his constituency and ordered her to hire his choice female candidates. The principal refused him, saying that the Punjab government had repeatedly announced to make all appointments on merit and that she would make all appointments on merit, but the MPA said his orders must be followed. 

Later, the principal tried to involve other local residents in the matter to convince the MPA not to intervene in the recruitment process. However, MPA Ijaz Achlana called the principal on September 26 and threatened her of terrible consequences if she would not appoint the teachers according to his orders. The MPA said that he has got approval for the establishment of the college in the area and that principal has no right to ignore his recommendations. “If you will not make the appointments as per my orders you will no more remain the principal of the college,” the MPA told her. 

According to senior officials of the education department, same is the situation in all other districts of the Punjab. 

Punjab Higher Education Secretary Farhan Aziz Khawaja, while talking to “The News”, said that these posts are not of lecturers rather these are College Teacher Interns (CTI) and the monthly amount given to them is not salary but stipend. 

He said these CTI are appointed for merely nine months. He said that only one year back in 2012, the Punjab government had recruited some 2,000 regular lecturers. Khawaja said that there are complaints of political intervention in appointment of these CTIs and the Punjab government always addresses such complaints. Asked that though these positions are not of regular lecturers but thousands of qualified candidates apply for such positions, and almost all the Punjab colleges have vacant posts and system heavily depends on these ad hoc based trainee lecturers, Khawaja said the Punjab government is consistently trying to further improve the system and the present complaint will also be entertained “if documents and evidences are available.” 

Khawaja insisted that the Punjab government always entertain complaints regarding intervention of politicians in appointments. Khawaja said that it is true that though these are position of interns but many Maters degree qualified people are compelled to continue with repeated terms as internee because of not having permanent job and there is tough competition even to get this Rs15,000 per month job. 

Maher Ijaz Achlana, while talking to “The News” on Thursday, said the PML-N government strictly follows the “merit” while making all appointments. The ruling party parliamentarian categorically refused that he had humiliated and given threats to the female principal. On the question that whether he called the principal as according to records, calls were made from his numbers to contact numbers of the principal, Achlana replied, “I use to call different officers and also called the said principal for some other issue and haven’t threatened her.” 

Asked for which issue he called the principal (on Thursday), the MPA was speechless. “What is hidden behind your call to me. What is your demand?” was the next sentence of the MPA like any South Punjab feudal lord. 

Achlana was told that this scribe would speak to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to inform him of the corrupt practices, illegal appointments and threats and humiliation of female officers by his MPAs. The ruling MPA’s response was again surprising. “Many newspapers have published stories against me and nothing ever happened to me,” he said. 

On the other hand when The News approached Mussarat Shaheen Bokhari, Principal of Government Degree College for Women, Kot Sultan, Layyah, she confirmed the contents of story and said that she has been summoned in the same case by the local court on September 30 where she will disclose all the details of her ordeal. 

Senior officials of Punjab education department say that MPAs give lists of candidates to concerned principals and DEOs before any such hiring, and according to the policy of Punjab education department, whole process is carried out on simple and unsigned papers which are later forwarded to concerned MPs. “After MPs finalise the list of the candidates for final appointments, the concerned EDOs release final and signed papers bearing names of illegally appointed persons,” a senior official from Lahore told “The News.” He said during this process, no list is final or signed so it could not be leaked to the media.

The senior official from Lahore also said that in large-scale appointments made in the schools of Punjab during the previous term of provincial government, merit was strictly followed. However, after that majority of appointments are made on political grounds to please MPs.

[The News, September 29, 2013]

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